Sunday, December 3, 2017

It started with a hat

As I was going through things a few weeks ago to prepare for a blog post, I found an interesting little “package”.

Hmmmm, wonder what was inside?

Was that my grandfather’s Shriner’s Hat (or Fez, as they are called)? 

The inside of the hat was stamped with Los Angeles Fraternal Supply Co. (LAFS Co.), 3704 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007.  This Fez belongs to ___________________.  It’s blank? 

I found that the LAFS Co. was founded in 1945 and moved from 3704 S. Main Street to Carson, California in 2009 so this could be anyone’s hat.  Of course I don’t know why my grandfather would have saved a hat that wasn’t his but maybe it was my dad’s?

WAIT!  I remembered that Grandpa had sailed to Honolulu for some sort of Shriner’s event in 1949.  In fact, I blogged about it HERE.  And then I remembered I recently found a group picture of a bunch of Shriner’s.  Time to get out my handy dandy Flip Pal scanner and get that photo scanned.

Shriners 4_27_1949 Sig_Loraine

Normally I find my grandparents in the front row (that’s what being about 5’1” to 5’4” will get you but I didn’t see them.  And then I zoomed and found them (circled above).  And then I zoomed in even farther.

Shriners 4_27_1949 Sig_Loraine cropped

Yep, sure enough – that’s them.  But Sig has on a Tehran Fez with Tehran being the Fresno chapter.  There were some other men in the photo wearing Islam Fezzes and as you can see here, a few had on an Aloha or even Hello Fez. 

The notation on the photo says “Luke’s Photo Studio, April 27, 1949, Honolulu” so I have proof that they were there.  In fact, even more proof when I found the passenger list.

Passenger List
Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Honolulu, Hawaii, 1900-1953; (National Archives Microfilm Publication A3422, 269 rolls)

There they are on the last two lines.  And after some further research, I learned that they arrived in Honolulu on April 27, 1949 so the photo was taken on their first day on the island.  What a crowd!

I went through some menus that I had and found what looks to be the last dinner menu from the Lurline on April 26, 1949.

And inside was ‘A word about the subject of the cover painting’.

Dinner Menu 4_27_1949 Message

Since it’s saying Aloha it makes me think this was their final dinner on board.

I also found some menus from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel the first week of May (I also found some from January and March, 1949 which is another mystery I’ve yet to solve) which tells me they stayed for a week or more to enjoy a relaxing vacation.  So I thought I’d look through more passenger lists and see if I could find their return trip and I did!

Passenger List HNL_SFO United Airlines 5_10_1949
Registers of Persons Held for Boards of Special Inquiry at the San Francisco, California, Immigration Office, February 1910-May 1941

WHAT?  They returned to San Francisco by plane?  May 10, 1949, United Airlines #648.  I only remember them traveling to/from Hawaii by sea so I was surprised to find this.  It’s really hard to see but they are on line 21 (Mildred) and 22 (Sigmond).  But their address of 1549 Echo Avenue, Fresno is listed so I know it’s them.  Of course the first thing I thought was how long did it take to make that trip by air in 1949?  And from what I could find, it took 7 hours, 20 minutes as opposed to 5 hours, 5 minutes today.

I don’t think the note above about Persons Held for Boards of Special Inquiry means much but it is an interesting notation.

So back to the hat.  Was it Sig’s?  Or maybe my dad’s?  I’m always so happy when I’m left with bread crumbs but, unfortunately, I didn’t get any this time.


  1. Why would it say Islam? Seems a bit odd!

    1. I think it was/is one of the chapters or something. The Fez seemed to say all sorts of things - Islam, Tehran, Aloha, etc. I know Tehran was the Fresno chapter but I'm not sure what the others mean.